October 7, 2010

Eight-man college football?

I've heard this brought up a few times and the more I hear about it, the more it makes sense. Eight and six-man football is something that's fairly common in the state of Montana. It allows smaller schools to still be competitive and field teams with a small pool of kids to choose from. The weirdest thing about covering high school football in Montana has been the number of kids on the sidelines and at practice...

Not that many.

I remember high school football in Chewelah and it seemed like we had at least two teams worth of kids standing and watching the offense and defense go through it's plays (You can tell I played a lot if I'm the one counting kids standing around watching practice). In Montana, it seems like everyone is involved and everyone is active.

After a few people brought this up and after it kicked around in my head for a while, I wondered why they don't do eight or six-man college football?

Why? So other sports don't get dinged for the massive size of a normal football program. In a small school like Eastern Washington University, it seems like there's still between sixty and eighty kids roaming around on the football practice fields. That's hard to make up in Title 9 for female sports. There just isn't another female sport that they can make those numbers with.

It's not like EWU football is a massive money-making machine either. Most schools lose money or break even with their athletics and in this economy, that's a huge drain.

Now if they switched to eight-man football, they could cut down the number of kids on the team to perhaps 25 or 30. Can you imagine how much cheaper that is? And we wouldn't have to cut sports like baseball and wrestling.

Some football purists might go crazy, but seriously, if a school like Western Washington University has to cut their football program entirely because of cost, wouldn't you rather have fewer players than no football at all.

Watching eight man football is a hoot. Frankly, there's not a huge difference except it's a much more open... and exciting brand of football.

Why not? It saves smaller schools money and allows them to keep playing football.

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